Autumn is in the air, and that means it’s time for ghost-shaped candies, colorful leaves and pumpkin-flavored everything. You don’t have to spend a fortune to enjoy the fall. Tampa Bay has plenty of family-friendly activities that are free to attend for both kids and adults.
Fall Transformation Festival
First Unity of St Petersburg
460 46th Ave. N.
St. Petersburg, FL33703
Date: Nov. 16, 2013
This festival is all about “the season of gratitude” and having a healthy mind, body and spirit. Free activities for kids and families include a kids’ zone, complete with bounce house, and live music and entertainment, including live drumming and belly dancing. Bring some cash to enjoy some of the other activities available, such as the vendor fair, concessions, fortune tellers and book fair.
28th Annual Guavaween
1600 E. 8th Ave.
Tampa, FL 33605
Date: Oct. 26, 2013
Guavaween is known for its street party — loud music, costumes that leave little to the imagination and lots of beer. However, there is more to it than that. The “Family Fun Fest” is packed with plenty of kid-friendly activities, such as trick-or-treating, story time and even a costume contest with a $1,000 prize (held at 9 p.m. for adults). Just be sure to hire a sitter if you plan on coming back for the night-time festivities.
Kathleen Area Historical Society Fall Festival
8950 N. Campbell Road
Lakeland, FL 33810
Date: Nov. 2, 2013
History buffs will love this incredible interactive festival. Free activities include children’s games, live entertainment and a pioneer life display. If you care to do some shopping, a flea market and craft vendors will also be at the site. Just make sure you don’t miss the highlight of this annual festival — the grinding of sugar cane into syrup.
Treasure Island Halloween Spooktacular & Fall Festival
10351 Paradise Blvd.
Treasure Island, FL 33706
(727) 547-4575 ext. 237
Date: Oct. 25, 2013
This three-hour extravaganza offers safe fun for kids and families. Games, interactive entertainment, moon walks, a haunted cemetery and a hayride are all free for both adults and kids. Food, drinks, face painters, caricature artists and a fortune teller are also available for a small fee. Don’t forget to dress up for the costume contest!
21st Annual Tampa Bay Times Fall Festival of Reading
USF St. Petersburg Campus
140 7th Ave. S.
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
Date: Oct. 26, 2013
This family-friendly festival is loved by readers of all ages. Held on the beautiful USF St. Petersburg campus, festival-goers will be delighted by the variety of book signings, book markets and author talks available. This year’s festival will be featuring over 20 local and not-so-local authors, such as Jeff Klinkenberg, Jamie Ford and Rick Yancey. Parking and admission are free, but bring some cash for food, drinks and, of course, books.
Amanda Mole has been writing since she was old enough to hold a pencil and cooking since she was tall enough to reach the stove. She believes that food provides more than just vital nutrients: it is an irreplaceable part of countless cultural and social activities. As a Tampa Bay resident for the past 21 years, she is well acquainted with the incredibly diverse range of restaurants, bars, and food festivals that the area has to offer. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.